Oh boy, what a week! I don't think I have ever been so excited, exhausted, anxious, or joyful as I have been this week. Let me see if I can sum it up for you real quick (it probably won't be very quick). I am now serving in a place called Dublin, Ohio. I don't think I have ever served in a place quite like Dublin. It is a beautiful place, full of beautiful homes and nice families. Life is so good, which sometimes makes it a bit hard for people to see why they need the gospel in their lives. Or at least that is the reputation this area has received. But coming into this transfer, my companion Sister Tolman and I decided we were not going to let those stereotypes and past results get in our way of seeing miracles!
One of the biggest things weighing on me lately is a goal we have as a mission. President Stratford received revelation that each companionship in the mission can help someone to be baptized before July 1st, and since then it has been confirmed to me multiple times that this is possible. So I have faith that this is possible because God always fulfills His promises. But upon arriving in Dublin, there was no one on date to be baptized in the month of June. And in case you forgot, it's already June. So we seemed to be in a bit of a pickle. To be totally honest, I was frustrated and a bit angry. I don't know what at, but I just felt like it wasn't fair. But God gave me a good kick in the pants and an assurance that all things are possible through Christ. So I picked myself up and we made goals and plans to find someone and make this happen.
I think my theme for the week has definitely been Alma 8:10
"Nevertheless Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the people who were in the city; that he would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance."
This is literally me. Every time I would read in the scriptures about individuals wrestling with God or struggling in the spirit, I obviously recognized that whatever it was they were praying about was something they really wanted and it took effort. But this week, I think I truly have come to understand what that means, the kind of desire that comes from understanding the eternal consequences of what needs to happen to the point that it consumes you and leads you to struggle in prayer, and the type of energy and effort that it takes. It is more than just physical exertion that we experience when we work hard, but it is spiritually and mentally strenuous. I don't think I have ever wanted anything more, and I think what heightens that desire is knowing that it is what God wants as well.
We have been working so hard, meeting and teaching many wonderful people and looking everyone for those who are prepared for baptism. Yesterday evening Sister Tolman and I both felt like we should see a woman in our area book. We went to her home and actually met her daughter who is about our age :) She is so cool!!! She immediately opened up to us and found interest in our message. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she said that it would be so important to her to know that there is more scripture about Christ, because she wants to be able to learn as much about him as she can. We shared more of the restoration and the conversation shifted to baptism. What she said made my heart fill with joy "I have always wanted to be re baptized, so that this time it would be my own personal commitment to follow Christ" Friends, she excitedly accepted a baptismal date of June 30th, is looking forward to church Sunday and reading from the Book of Mormon. She is a miracle. I gave her the biggest hug before we left her doorstep and could not help but tear up as we walked away, practically jumping for joy that our prayers had been heard and answered. I know that at this point she can't possibly know the magnitude of the commitment she just made, or how hard the adversary is going to work against this. But we know these things, we know how impossible a task this may seem, so we are going to keep struggling in the spirit and wrestling with God to make this happen. We will continue to find those that God is preparing and do all we can for those we have already found, because they are always there and God will always provide a way.
Remember that God loves you. He hears your prayers. He knows of your worries, fears, concerns, anxieties and trials. It may not always come in your timing, but an answer will always come. So keep praying, and while you wait Just Keep Smiling!